top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatilda

Job Interview Abroad: Top 9 Interview Questions to Prepare For

Are you dreaming of landing a job abroad? No wonder! The international job market is filled with amazing career opportunities and thrilling life experiences.


However, trying to land a job abroad also comes with its unique set of challenges. One of these is the job interview itself. The questions asked in an international job interview can be quite different from those you're used to. A different country, different culture, and a different set of rules.


For example, interviews for jobs abroad often delve into areas such as motivation to move abroad, cultural adaptability, relocation specifics, and work permits.


Being prepared for the most common interview questions for jobs abroad can make the difference between success and failure. In this blog post, we'll get into the 9 most common questions and provide you with valuable insights on how to tackle them confidently. Plus, we'll give you the exact answer examples you can use in your interviews.


Ready to wow your interviewers in an international job interview? Grab a pen and paper, and let's dive in!


RELATED POSTS




A cover page used in an article about the top 9 interview questions for international job search.

 

Most Common Interview Questions for Jobs Abroad


The first step in a successful interview preparation? Knowing what questions to expect and prepare for. For jobs abroad, most interview questions will be focused on your motivation to move abroad and work in the country you applied for. Besides that, the questions will revolve around your skills and experiences relevant to the job you're applying for, like in any other interview.


Let's dive deeper into the 9 most common interview questions and tips on how to answer them.



 

#1: What Motivates You to Work Abroad?


Employers are nosey. They'll surely ask about your motivation to work abroad. This might even be one of their first questions. By asking that, they aim to understand your reasons for seeking job opportunities outside your home country. They also want to ensure that you don't have a romanticized idea of their country, but realistic expectations towards working there.

Interview Tips:


  • Focus on growth. To answer this effectively, demonstrate your passion for developing yourself further, gaining diverse experiences, going outside of your comfort zone, and embracing challenges that come with working in a different environment.

  • Highlight soft skills relevant to international opportunities, such as your adaptability, open-mindedness, and desire for personal and professional growth.


How to Answer (Example):


I'm deeply committed to personal growth and development, and I believe moving abroad provides an unparalleled opportunity for this. It's not merely a change of location, but a chance to immerse myself in a diverse array of experiences and challenges. I'm adaptable and open-minded, qualities I consider essential for success in a new environment. Therefore, my desire to move abroad comes from my pursuit of self-improvement, my readiness to embrace unique experiences, and my willingness to confront and overcome new challenges.



 

#2: Why Would You Specifically Like to Move to X Country?


Next, employers will want to understand your motivation for wanting to relocate to their country or city. It's important to them that your desire to live and work there is genuine, and not just a random choice. Articulating why you're specifically interested in their country can offer valuable insights into your goals, expectations, and your ability to adapt.


Interview Tips:


  • Share what you're attracted to. When discussing your reasons for choosing a particular country, emphasize factors like career or personal development opportunities, cultural affinity, or personal connections.

  • Showcase your research about the country's economy, job market, and living conditions to demonstrate your preparedness and genuine interest in making a meaningful contribution to the local community.

  • Whenever possible, add country-specific information, like the exact employment rate, benefits for expats, or some other relevant details that could prove you've done your research.


How to Answer (Example):


I'm particularly drawn to X country due to the ample opportunities it offers for both personal and professional development. I have a deep affinity for the culture and have personal connections that make it an ideal choice for me. Moreover, I've done extensive research on the country's robust economy and job market and I believe it's the perfect location for my career development. Plus, I'm genuinely interested in contributing meaningfully to the local community and believe that moving to X country will provide the perfect platform for this.



Do you have personal reasons for moving abroad? Moving for love? Or just because you've always pictured yourself in France, Italy, or some other dream country? Follow this interview guide to explain your personal reasons for moving in the next interview. (You'll find word-for-word sample answers there, too.)


By the way, if you're still unsure which country is the best for you, check this list of the 10 best European countries for expat women.


 


#3: Why Are You Looking to Leave Your Current Country?


Similarly, employers will be curious about your reasons for wanting to leave your current country. It's crucial to them that your decision to move is well-thought-out and not just a spur-of-the-moment decision. Explaining why you're specifically interested in leaving your current country can provide valuable insights into your aspirations, motivations, and readiness for change.


Interview Tips:


  • Be (appropriately) transparent. Highlight factors such as the lack of career or personal development opportunities or cultural disconnect to show your awareness and the thought process behind your decision to relocate.

  • Ensure that your discussion doesn't solely focus on the negatives of your current country. Instead, pivot towards the positives by discussing why you're drawn to the country you're applying to. This approach shows employers that your motivation to relocate isn't just about escaping negatives, but is driven by the positive aspects of the new country.


How to Answer (Example):


Sadly, my current country offers limited opportunities for personal and professional growth. While I appreciate the experiences and opportunities my current country has provided me thus far, I want to grow further. That's why I'm particularly excited about the prospect of moving to X country. I'm drawn to its vibrant culture, the potential for personal and professional growth, and the strong sense of community. It feels like the perfect next step for me.


 

#4: Can You Tell Us About Your Work Experience?


Moving forward, employers will be eager to learn about your work experience. It's vital to them that your professional background aligns with the role you're applying for. Detailing your work experience, particularly any international experience, can offer valuable insights into your skills, adaptability, and global perspective.


Interview Tips:


  • Keep it relevant. When discussing your work experience, highlight experiences that are relevant to the role you're applying for.

  • Emphasize any international work experience you have, such as leading a project that involved collaboration with teams from various countries or perhaps working abroad for a period of time. This can demonstrate your ability to adapt to different cultures and work environments.

  • Whenever possible, quantify your achievements. This could be in the form of sales you made, projects you completed, or any other measurable outcomes from your work.


How to Answer (Example):


In my previous roles, I was responsible for managing diverse customer support teams across multiple countries. This international experience allowed me to develop a deep understanding of different cultures and work styles, which I believe is invaluable in today's globalized business environment. I successfully led several projects, resulting in a 20% increase in efficiency and a 15% increase in sales. I'm excited to bring these skills and experiences to your company and contribute to your growth.



 


#5: How Would You Handle Cultural Differences in the Workplace?


The ability to navigate cultural differences in the workplace is a highly sought-after skill, especially in an international setting. Employers want to know that you can work effectively with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and adapt to different work cultures, so they'll surely ask about it.


Interview Tips:


  • Make your answer as specific as possible by sharing a real-life example of how you've handled cultural differences in the past. This demonstrates that you have practical experience, not just theoretical knowledge.

  • Show that you're proactive in learning about different cultures and open to different perspectives. This can be through self-study, attending cultural events, or actively seeking out diverse viewpoints in your workplace.


How to Answer (Example):


I always proactively learn about the new culture to navigate the cultural differences smoothly. For example, in my previous role at Company X, I worked closely with a team based in Japan. Initially, there were some communication challenges due to differences in work culture and communication style. However, I took the initiative to learn about Japanese business etiquette and communication norms. I also encouraged open dialogue within the team about our cultural differences and how we could work together effectively. This proactive approach not only improved our team's communication but also fostered a more inclusive and respectful work environment. I believe these experiences have equipped me well to handle cultural differences in any workplace.


Two people having a discussion in an office.

Source: Pexels

 

#6: What Challenges Have You Faced Working in Diverse Teams?


Collaboration with individuals from varied backgrounds can lead to innovative ideas, different perspectives, and enhanced problem-solving skills. But, it can also lead to unique challenges. And employers are perfectly aware of that. So, they'll be curious to know what challenges you've faced and how you handled them.


Interview Tips:


  • Use specific examples to illustrate your points. This gives your answer credibility and makes it more relatable.

  • Keep it positive. When discussing challenges, make sure to also mention the positive resolutions and what you learned from these experiences. This shows that you're not just problem-focused but solution-oriented.



How to Answer (Example):


In my previous role at Company Y, one of the challenges I faced working in a diverse team was the difference in communication styles. For instance, some team members were more direct while others were more subtle in their approach. This initially led to some misunderstandings. However, I saw this as an opportunity to improve our team's communication. I initiated a conversation about our differences and how we could use them to our advantage. We agreed on a common communication protocol that respected everyone's styles. This not only resolved our communication issues but also brought us closer as a team. It was a valuable lesson in the importance of open dialogue and adaptability in a diverse team.



 

#7: Do You Have the Necessary Work Permits to Work in Our Country?


Onto the not-so-fun stuff: visas and work permits. When interviewing international candidates, employers want to ensure that they have the legal eligibility to work in their country or at least know in advance if they need any support with sorting this out. So, be prepared to discuss your work status and any necessary permits or visas.


Interview Tips:


  • Be honest and straightforward about your work permit status. If you don't have a work permit, explain your plans to obtain one.

  • Have all the relevant documents at hand. If you already have a work permit, be prepared to provide details such as the type of permit and its validity period.


How to Answer (Example):


I currently don't have a work permit for your country. However, I'm highly committed to this opportunity and have started the process to obtain the necessary work permit. I've researched the requirements and am confident that I meet the criteria. I'm prepared to take the necessary steps to expedite the process as much as possible and I hope this will not be a barrier to my potential contribution to your team.



 

#8: What Support Do You Need With Relocation?


Relocating for a job abroad comes with its own set of challenges. It's not as easy as simply traveling to a different location, as you would when starting a new job in your current city. It's more complex and requires serious logistical planning. Luckily, companies often provide relocation support for international candidates through relocation or expat packages. You can expect they'll ask you about the support you need in your interview.


Interview Tips:


  • Be honest about your needs, but also show flexibility. Employers appreciate candidates who are willing to adapt to new circumstances.

  • Research the relocation process and the company's typical relocation packages. This will help you answer this question more confidently and realistically.



How to Answer (Example):


In terms of relocation, I would appreciate support with the logistical aspects, such as finding suitable accommodation and understanding the local rental market. Additionally, assistance with the move, including moving my belongings and flight tickets would be appreciated. However, I am flexible and understand that support may vary depending on the company's policies, so please let me know what kind of support were you planning to provide.



 

#9: What Are Your Salary Expectations?


Discussing salary expectations can be a tricky part of any job interview, and it's even more complex when you're interviewing for an international position. However, it's important to be prepared and have a clear understanding of your value in the job market of the country you're applying to, as interviewers will surely ask about the expected salary.


Interview Tips:


  • Do your research beforehand. Understand the average salary range for the role you're applying to in that specific country. This will help you provide a realistic and informed answer.

  • Avoid being vague or non-committal. Even though it's not your local job market, interviewers will expect you to have a specific number ready.

  • Be confident and assertive, but also flexible. Show that you understand your worth, but also that you're open to negotiation.


How to Answer (Example):


Based on my research of comparable salaries for this type of position and understanding of the cost of living in your country, as well as the value I bring with my skills and experience, I would expect a salary in the range of X to Y (in local currency). However, I am open to discussing this further and finding a mutually beneficial agreement.



Remember: Landing a job abroad doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your goals and accept any offer that comes your way. You can negotiate your salary, even when you're applying for those jobs abroad. Dive into the ultimate salary negotiation guide for expats and make the most of this exciting career and life move.



A list of the top 9 interview questions for a job abroad.



 

Conclusion


Interviewing for a job abroad? Prepare thoroughly for these interviews by familiarizing yourself with the most common questions, cultural nuances, and industry-specific expectations. By doing so, you can increase your chances of success and stand out among other candidates vying for international opportunities.


Remember, confidence, research, and adaptability are key when navigating job interviews in any context, including applications for jobs abroad. So, put your best foot forward, showcase your skills, and show your potential employers why you're the perfect fit for the job across borders.



Matilda Patsou and Ana Colak-Fustin, founders of MoreThanCareers


Hi there! We're Matilda and Ana — the founders of MoreThanCareers, expats, international corporate recruiters, and HR professionals with 18+ years of combined HR experience. Since 2018, our career-building techniques, tools, and resources have helped over 500 coaching clients and 8,000 individuals worldwide land new, more fulfilling, higher-paying, and career-changing jobs.

Now it's your turn. And MoreThanCareers is here to help!

bottom of page